'Sesame Street' Favorite Retiring After Four Decades

Everett Collection

Sonia Manzano's Maria became a fixture on the show in 1974.

Maria is leaving Sesame Street.

Sonia Manzano, who joined the show in 1971, announced Monday that she is retiring.  

Manzano, who also writes for the show, has won 15 Emmy awards during her tenure on Sesame Street.

The character of Maria started off as a teenager in 1974 and grew up before viewers' eyes, going on dates and later marrying Luis (Emilio Delgado), and having a daughter, Gabi (Desiree Casado), who is now grown.

Here's a classic Maria moment from 1996.

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